A steady increase is being noted in the number of enterprises opting for Platform as a Service (PaaS) to build, run and manage software applications and services over the internet, and without building complex infrastructure. As the PaaS services are hosted in the cloud, the users can access the software applications over the internet anytime and anywhere. Recently, Microsoft completely redesigned the architecture of ASP.NET.

In addition to being open source and cross-platform, ASP.NET Core also enables developers develop and deploy applications in the cloud efficiently by taking advantage of the cloud-ready configuration. The developers also have several options to run .NET applications in the cloud. AppHarbor is designed as a fully-hosted PaaS for .NET applications. The developers can avail the features provided by AppHarbor to deploy and scale a variety of .NET applications to the cloud without putting extra time and effort.

Understanding Different Aspects of AppHarbor

Design: AppHarbor is designed specifically a fully hosted PaaS for .NET applications. Unlike other .NET Cloud PaaS, AppHarbor is both simple and easy to use. The features and tools provided by AppHarbor makes it easier for developers to deploy and scale .NET applications to the cloud without putting extra time and effort. The programmers can further take advantage of these features to deploy and manage a variety of .NET applications smoothly without managing complex infrastructure.

Code Deployment: AppHarbor enables developers to deploy Windows or .NET code through several widely used tools like Git, Subversion, Mercurial and Team Foundation Server. Each of these tools is also complemented Git service. Also, they can push the code to AppHarbor by availing the integration provided by GitHub, CodePlex or Bitbucket. Hence, each developer can use his favourite tool to push Windows or .NET code to AppHarbor without any hassle.

Performing Unit Tests: AppHarbor compiles the code submitted by developers through a build server. The build server will execute all unit tests included in compiled assemblies, and display the test results on the application dashboard. The developers also have option to check the status of unit tests on the application dashboard. AppHarbor also conveys build results to the developers based on the service hooks added by them.

Application Scaling: AppHarbor has the capability to scale the .NET applications hosted on it both vertically and horizontally. It further scales the .NET applications almost instantaneously to improve the application performance and make it handle additional concurrent requests efficiently. The scaling options further enable the applications to handle extra and sudden load, and minimize chances of failure and crashes.

Command Line Utility: AppHarbor allows developers to control and manage their .NET applications through a command line utility. After logging in, the developers can use AppHarbor CLI to control their .NET applications through simple commands. They can further use specific commands to create/delete applications, get application details, add/remove configuration variables, and add/remove host name. However, they still have option to perform these tasks through the application dashboard.

PageSpeed Optimization Filters: AppHarbor supports Google page speed optimization through a set of tools included in PageSpeed module. These tools optimize web page latency and reduce bandwidth consumption by rewriting the application code. Also, the pagespeed optimization filters improve the performance of .NET application by implementing caching, compressing content and reducing number of concurrent requests sent to a single domain.

Add-ons: The ASP.Net developers also have option to avail a number of AppHarbor add-ons to deploy and scale their applications more efficiently. Some of these add-ons are free, whereas others are commercial and paid. Based on specific needs of the application, the developers can opt for useful add-ons like Dedicated SQL Server, ElephantSQL, MySQL, CloudMailin, IronMQ, Cloudinary, Logentries, and Memcached Cloud. These add-ons enable developers to enhance the functionality and performance of cloud-based .NET applications without requiring third-party tools.

Flexible Pricing: An enterprise has option to choose from three distinct editions to AppHarbor – Canoe, Catamaran and Yacht. Canoe is free and available for one worker unit. On the other hand, Catamaran is available for two worker unit, and costs $ 49 per month. Likewise, Yacht is available for four worker unit, and costs $ 199 per month. Hence, a business can easily scale AppHarbor according to its specific needs, and avail the required RAM, CPU, bandwidth and other resources.

On the whole, AppHarbor makes it easier for developers to deploy and scale a variety of .NET applications to the cloud. They can further run and manage the applications in the cloud smoothly by using a number of commonly used tools and services.